De-Stress with Dogs

Canines help SU students manage stress during finals
By Stacy Howard

Students are cramming for finals and what better way for a little reprieve, than hanging out with furry friends? At least two of the biggest Labradors in Seattle will entertain and de-stress hundreds of students during a hectic time of year.  

The De-Stress with Dogs program started 4 years ago in a dorm basement. The popularity has grown so much that hundreds of students now take a break from their studies to pet and play with dogs.   

Stress is the number #1 impediment to academic performance both nationally and on Seattle U’s campus. In the past year, nearly 70 percent of students felt overwhelmed by all the things they had to do.  

A 2002 study examined the effects of the presence of friends, spouses and pets on the level of stress associated with certain relatively unpleasant tasks. They found that compared with human support, the presence of pets was associated with lower perceived and actual responses to stress.   

Another study showed that pets lower blood pressure and showed better heart function in heart failure patients after a canine beside visit. Even a short pet visit is proven to increase levels of feel-good endorphins and lower levels of stress.  

Tables will be set up around the event to educate attendees about various proven methods of stress reduction/management as well as resources on campus to seek help when needed.  Activities will include making stress balls, aromatherapy, anxiety screening and healthy eating tips.    

** Chester Chocolate Hinchgoos has been the main attraction of de-stress with dogs from its inception. He is a 6-year-old wonderful, loving chocolate lab that regularly de-stresses students with kisses and snuggles on the floor. He’s a great running partner, loves breakfast, dinner and treats and snacks on dandelions in his free time.   

**Willie Corr, a 9-year-old yellow Labrador is a veteran of the Shorewood High School Therapy Dog Program. A certified therapy dog, Willie is a member of the Delta Society and works with youth with behavior and emotional disabilities and developmentally delayed students. Willie appears every year in the staff section of the Shorewood High School yearbook. 

WHEN/WHERE: Thursday June 2, 2011, Pigott Pavilion Lobby (next to Student Center) 
                              4-5:30 p.m        



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